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By Charlie Englar
On March 29, Celtic Crossroads, a forceful extravaganza of Irish music and theatre, will make a stop at the Budweiser Event Center in Loveland as a part of their World Fusion Tour.
Starting off as a street show in Galway City on the west coast of Ireland in 2005, the group morphed and grew into a theatre-level production in 2007. Since then, the members have been touring constantly.
The group consists of seven young musicians, all of who carry musicianship in their lineage, playing over twenty instruments and touching on many musical genres. Along with this “core seven,” Irish dancers add to the performance with intense high-kicking and rhythmic dancing.
“It truly is a performance of world class, authentic dancers and musicians directly from Ireland,” said Ryan Young, Director of Marketing at Budweiser Event Center.
Since the members of Celtic Crossroads put on more of a theatrical experience (as opposed to a standard music concert), the role of the producer within the group is one that carries much weight when it comes to the presentation of the experience.
Kevin Crosby is the producer for Celtic Crossroads, and he also helped form the group with his brother Eamon and the show’s Musical Director and fiddle player, Michael McClintock.
According to Crosby, the connection between producer and musician – for this crew anyway – runs much deeper than business partnership.
“It comes back to the music culture at home in Ireland. You can go to any pub and if you sit back and observe the musicians that play away… Someone might bring a banjo and as the evening progresses they’ll be passed a flute, fiddle, guitar, etc. by a friend or family member, and a lot of people become world class players on numerous instruments,” said Crosby.
“As a producer, I often go from bar to bar and just sit back and observe. Seeing musicians playing together and connecting while they play is really something special,” he continued.
Crosby also feels that the sound of the instruments being played and the talent of the musicians should be put front and center.
“I insist upon [none of the] backing tracks, sensitizers, et cetera that have become iconic with Celtic shows. I don’t believe there is any other show doing what we do. The performers in Celtic Crossroads are thrilled to do what they love without any embarrassing or cheesy tricks,” said Crosby.
With so much emphasis put on the musicians and their instruments, it should come as no surprise that a plethora of instruments are used.
Within the arsenal of the twenty-plus instruments, the various drums in particular play a vital role in establishing innovative arrangements and bass-driven grooves. The Bodhran drum is one of the original instruments used for the group.
Along with drums, various “old-school” and “new-school” instruments are used. While the Celtic Harp and Uilleann Pipes (the Irish version of the Scottish Bag Pipes) represent the “old-school,” newer-generation instruments such as wooden flutes, whistles, fiddles, accordions, guitars and mandolins are also used. The group also mixes in foreign instruments like the Bouzouki (Greece) and the Cajon (Peru).
“The instruments are the real backbone for the show, and they represent a wide range of styles,” said Crosby.
It seems that this group is also well adept at picking up various musical styles as they come across them. On a recent stop in Nashville, TN, the crew found their inner-Appalachia.
“We heard some musicians in a bar playing bluegrass music. They played all the same instruments that we had on our stage and their style was along the same line as ours. The guys got up to play some tunes with the locals that night and, to cut a long story short, we now have bluegrass feature in the show dedicated to that night,” said Crosby.
Crosby also said that newcomers to the show should look forward to a great experience.
“[They can] expect to see a bunch of young world-class musicians and dancers completely wow them: They’ll not only see Celtic music and dance, but also numerous world genres and styles fused along with that,” exclaimed Crosby.
Ryan Young added, “We are very excited that the band is making their way to Loveland. It really is a very visual and inspiring show.”
For more information, go to www.celticcrossroads.ie or www.beclive.com.